The future stars of world cricket are here! Cricket’s exceptional young talent is on display at theInternational Cricket Council (ICC) under-19 World Cup in New Zealand. Over the years, this biennial tournament has provided a platform for cricket’s finest youngsters to unveil their talent. Here’s a look at some of the current cricket starswho emerged from the under-19 ranks to stamp their class on world cricket.
Arguably the king of T20 cricket, Chris Gayle displayed his talent very early in the ICC under-19 World Cup in South Africa in 1998. He ended up as the top scorer of the tournament with 364 runs. Gayle created mayhem with his batting even then and has since been the scourge of bowlers across the world.
Virat Kohli is undoubtedly one of the biggest players to emerge from the under-19 ranks. Kohli led his side to the championship title in the 2008 edition. His passion, talent and leadership abilities made the cricketing world sit up and take notice. He has never looked back since then and today has metamorphosed into a mega cricketer.The ICC has also named Kohlithe cricketer of the yearfor 2017.
The current New Zealand captain was one of the stars of the tournament in 2008. Kane Williamson impressed cricket pundits with his rock-solid temperament and ice-cool approach. He was fast-tracked into the New Zealand senior team after his exploits at the under-19 level.
The ‘Gabbar’ of the Indian cricket team unleashed his full range of strokes at the 2004 edition. He ended up as the leading run-scorer with 505 runs. ShikharDhawanimpressed one and all with his stylish batting and hunger for runs. He has maintained that appetite and is now among the mainstays of the Indian batting line-up.
The current Pakistan captain led his team to the winner’s podium in 2006. The highlight of Pakistan’s triumph was their final match against India where Sarfraz Ahmed inspired the team to defend a paltry total of 109 to win the match. Ahmed underlined his captaincy skills by winning the ICC Champions Trophy in 2017 with the senior team.
In the same edition that saw Virat Kohli emerge as a future star, there was an Australian who would go on to make a mark for himself as well. Although Steve Smith did not set the tournament ablaze, the talent that he possessed was evident. And boy, has he made a mark in international cricket today! Smith has been crowned twice as the ICC test player of the year.